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how much could the winner really get and where does all that ticket money really go? coming to shore, the cameras discovered the most dirty beach in america. the growing wave of trash from the tsunami in japan, and more heading our way. and is there life on mars? the folks who run the rover are hinting at a discovery. nightly news begins now. good evening, while millions of americans have bought a ticket hoping to be awarded a pile of money and financial security for life, there is another kind of lottery going on in washington. they're playing with our money. we're going to find out shortly if two parties can agree on a way to keep this country from falling off what is referred to for good reason as a "fiscal cliff,". there were sporadic
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outbreaks of bipartisanship, no real compromise yet. but the issues are tough and will affect every single american before it is over. we'll take a closer look on how it could impact medicare in just a moment. first we want to begin with white house political director chuck todd, good evening. on where things stand at the negotiating table, good evening >> reporter: today, washington had the feel of a full-blown election campaign. there were props. there were gimmicks and heated political rhetoric from one end of pennsylvania avenue to the other, all over the so-called fiscal cliff. redeploying the campaign image, the president surrounded himself with what he called average middle class families, to ramp up the pressure on the republicans. >> if congress does nothing, every family in america will see their taxes automatically go up at the beginning of next year. >> reporter: the president wants congress to extend the bush tax rates for everyone making less than $250,000 but wants taxes to
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go up for everybody else, and will take the message to pennsylvania avenue on friday. not to be outdone on the pr front the house republicans hosted a group of nervous business leaders, who are pushing serious spending cuts to supplement expected tax hikes. >> i am hopeful, but wouldn't put me down anywhere near the optimistic category. we have a long way to go, very few days to get it done. >> reporter: in the first republican break inside the house, the oklahoma congressman tom cole endorsed the short-term approach. >> in my view, we all agree we won't raise the taxes on people making less than $250,000, we should take them out of the discussion right now. >> reporter: but the idea was quickly shut down. >> the goal is to grow the economy and cut spending. you won't grow the economy if you put tax rates on the top
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two rates. >> there was no serious discussion by the white house on entitlements on medicare and medicaid. this has to be a part of this agreement. >> reporter: the white house is going all out on this campaign tactical front, even deploying twitter, using the hash tag, to learn how they would save. and chuck todd on the white house lawn, starting us off. a big aspect of this again is medicare, 50 million americans get their health insurance through medicare. that number is growing quickly as the baby boom number gets older. polls show americans don't want big change to it, but big change could come. nbc's tom costello has more on what it may look like. >> reporter: it is one of the most popular government programs, but medicare now accounts for more than 13% of federal spending, and expected to grow at what many analysts call an unsustainable rate.
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so among the many options congress could consider to cut costs, slowly raise the eligibility age, and it would affect mr. and mrs. green, who live on any street, usa, both turning 65 next year will unlikely be affected, both still eligible for medicare coverage. but it could affect mr. and mrs. brown, who are only sixty. that could raise the number to sixty-five, and mr. and mrs. jackson, fifty-five, may not be eligible until they're sixty-six or older. but others say it would shift the costs to health care providers and private insurers. >> so as the private number pays more, the government saves money. but total costs rise. >> reporter: congresss could also change the means test, meaning seniors who earn more must pay more
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mrs. graham, for example, with income of less than 85,000 a year will pay a premium of 85 a month. her neighbors earning more than $85,000 a year, already pay up to $250 more a month in premiums. while only 5% pay higher in premiums, congress could raise the premiums or the co-pays on all seniors. but many are on a tight budget, the median income $22,000 a year. that is why many oppose the changes. >> we want to see the numbers lowered, not simply see the seniors pay more for health care. >> reporter: since nearly every senior will depend on medicare, any decision on eligibility of premiums and co-pays could affect millions. tom costello, nbc news, washington. it was another one of those days for susan rice, the u.n. ambassador who again found herself in the middle of a power struggle between some
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republicans on the hill on one side, and the president, who by all accounts would like to nominate her for the next secretary of state. our chief foreign correspondent andrea mitchell has more. >> reporter: with hillary clinton nodding her approval, the president sent a strong message to republicans, don't mess with my u.n. ambassador. susan rice is extraordinary >> couldn't be prouder of the job that you have done. >> reporter: for rice, a welcome signal that her nomination is still alive, despite another brutal day on capitol hill. >> the u.n. ambassador decided to play what was essentially a political role at the height of the difficult presidential election campaign. >> i would just ask the president to step back for a moment, and realize that all of us here hold the secretary of state to a very different standard than most cabinet members.
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>> reporter: why is susan rice such a lightning rod? even at 5'3" as a star point guard at the washington's national elite school, she was controversial. she battled for democrats, including john kerry, now her rival to become secretary of state. in bill clinton's cabinet, she was in charge of african policy, including controversial decisions on sudan , she was blamed for another security failure, the bombings 14 years ago and politics can be personal. in the 2008 campaign, she made fun of john mccain. for wearing a flap jacket on a baghdad walking tour, while claiming iraq was safer and tonight, hillary clinton praised rice. still, some democrats argue nominating rice would prolong the benghazi controversy, while john kerry could be easily confirmed. and tonight other officials
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indicate a republican, former senator, chuck hagel, is also being vetted for a job and also in washington tonight, the gop is dealing with the issue of optics and diversity in politics, getting a lot of coverage of the congressional committee chair selected thus far for the next congress. they are all white males, the leadership points out they were all selected for a reason, including seniority. the democrats point out on their side, white men are the minority among house democratic members, and now what has become a giant sector of the economy all by itself. the powerball drawing, the jackpot is now $550 million and counting. ticket sales are brisk. many are in the game and hoping. nbc's stephanie gosk has more. >> reporter: good evening, brian, well, earlier this year, powerball doubled the price of tickets from one to two dollars, that drove up the numbers, and
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more people play. early in the state of new york, 1.5 million tickets were being sold an hour. >> the winning ticket. >> reporter: money does not buy you happiness, but it can buy a whole bunch of other stuff. so people are lined up all over the country for a chance at the second largest lottery jackpot in history. >> you got to be in it to win it. >> reporter: 42 states from coast to coast. >> got the winning ticket right here. >> reporter: undaunted by the odds. 176 million to one. >> when i win, i'm moving tomorrow. >> reporter: most know they will probably lose. >> the lottery is a tax for the poor, more than rich. so the people who can afford it the least are putting the most into it. >> reporter: half the ticket sales go into the state, a good boost for the ailing budget, in new jersey, it helps veterans, in colorado, they're improving state parks. in georgia, most
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going for education. the hope scholarship for college students is completely funded by the lottery hannah grant feels like she hit the jackpot without even having to play. >> i would not be able to get into a large university like georgia state. >> reporter: the other half of the ticket sales goes to the grand prize. at $550 million, a single winner can choose a lump sum of $360 million, like earning $173,000 an hour, or $2900 a minute, for an entire year. but the federal government will want its cut, $90 million in taxes. not an immediate concern for the dreamers. >> today is the day. >> i want to give something to my grandchildren. >> for one, i would stop working. >> i would buy a house. >> i would give some to charity. >> reporter: this family won more than $200 million two months ago. this morning, on today, they had advice for the next winner. >> don't go out and get everything now, you will have time for all of that. just grow into the money. >> reporter: winning a lot of money can be difficult to handle. >> i just thought i would take a
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chance now, why not? >> reporter: even so it is a problem many wish they had. the lottery officials say there is a 75% chance there is a winner. but if not, tomorrow they will announce an even bigger jackpot. >> you never know, it may be the last time we ever see stephanie gosk reporting on powerball tonight. good luck, stephanie and thank you. weather making the news tonight as viewers on the west coast are well aware they're getting ready for some heavy weather, heavy rain, flood conditions that could go on for days. a huge plume of moisture that our friends at the weather channel say it is like a giant fire hose, getting ready to park itself on the west coast. some areas could see ten inches of rain, it could stretch south all the way to southern california. it could last for days and many at a time. on this night of the year,
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especially, new york city continues to be a tale of two cities. just outside our studios, out back here tonight, thousands are packed into the plaza for the lighting of the rockefeller center christmas tree, always a glittering occasion, this time of year. but if you get in the car and drive to the shoreline to the beach communities of the rockaways, it is an entirely different story, a cold, dark night under curfew, since the big storm. nbc's katy tur is just one block where fire and water combined destroyed 111 homes. >> reporter: good evening, brian, people around here are talking about two things today. one of them is all the debris and dust like this, what it is doing to the air quality. that with the mold, the sewage, and is it safe to breathe? that is why you're seeing so many people around here wearing masks. in fact, doctors have seen more breathing problems since sandy hit. the others are the local
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businesses, we're on one street with the local businesses. the owners say nearly 1150 businesses in the area could end up never re-opening, that is not just because of the damage, and most of them can't open for the season. these are mom and pop shops that really need to open to survive. this is what many argued in front of congress today, begging the congressional leaders to give them the funding they need to help the areas get back on their feet, brian. >> katy tur in the rockaways, thank you. where it is still a struggle. and still ahead for us, trouble in paradise. what our cameras have found on the beaches of hawaii. the debris that continues to pile up from the tsunami in japan so long ago. and later, we have been told to expect a big announcement about what the rover has discovered on mars. what could it be.
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the tsunami in japan was almost two years ago, and yet wait until you see the pictures of what we found on the beach in hawaii. the amount of debris washing ashore, and there is more coming right behind it. nbc's miguel almaguer has our report tonight from hawaii >> reporter: on the southern tip of the big island, disaster in paradise. >> we're pulling more than two
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2,000 pounds off the beach if not more >> reporter: this makes the overwhelming cleanup effort here difficult, what many call the world's dirtiest beach. an estimated 20 tons of garbage washes to shore here every year. >> we're the hub of loads of debris washing up from all over the map. >> reporter: now, more and more debris is washing up from japan, more believe it is an oncoming wave. a ten-mile stretch of garbage, bottles and fishing nets even a refrigerator has washed ashore. this beach used to be covered with beautiful sand. but now it is pieces of broken plastic, redefining the very look of the coastline. >> you just keep finding more, if you dig. >> reporter: debris is already impacting the wildlife. >> a lot of stuff in there. >> reporter: issues with the
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albatross show that they're digesting plastic at an alarming rate. >> every bird we open has plastic. 100% and it is showing up on our fish, too. >> fish that we love to eat, like salmon and tuna are eating the fish that we find plastic in. >> reporter: all this is propelled by the great pacific garbage path, that is along kamilo beach for decades. >> the things that are more at the surface of the ocean, hanging below the surface, come potentially this fall and winter to the west coast states. >> reporter: now debris like this dock may become a more common sight, and scientists say more below the water surface is on the way, clear signs of trouble in paradise. miguel almaguer. nbc news, kamilo beach, hawaii. coming up here tonight, if you remember the great gilda radner, we'll tell you why her
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name was in the news again today.
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last christmas, i, rosanna danna, was so depressed i thought i was going to die. >> she will always be royalty here, because here in new york on snl we got to know her, the actress and comedienne, who was so well loved. behind so many characters, a generation grew up quoting her after she died of ovarian cancer, a charity was formed, called gilda's club, will be changed because many don't know her as we all did. and because the cause remains just as urgent. oh, to be a fly on the wall tomorrow at lunchtime when the president and mitt romney will have lunch at the white house. it was an election night promise the president made to his opponent, not yet known what will be served or how much time the two men will spend together. by our calculations, by the way,
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this will be the seventh time the two men have been together. the white house says the president wants to hear mitt romney's ideas about more efficient government. mitt romney is renting office space, but has yet to choose a day job. up next here tonight, guessing gone wild, what have they found up there on mars?
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we'll leave you tonight with a modest question, are we alone with life forms in the universe? turns out the people running the mars rover has found something out. but we're going to have to wait until next week to find out what it is. one of them has told us to expect something big. the story from the lab in pasadena, here is nbc's mike taibbi. >> reporter: a year after its launch, the latest photos from the mars rover curiosity are stunning, vast landscapes, individualized rocks, analyzed by a laser beam >> the state is going to be one for the history books, it is looking really good. >> reporter: not surprisingly,
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the blog went wild, had they found evidence of life on the planet most like earth? perhaps, some guessed, carbon based molecules known as organics. >> this is one indicator, doesn't verify it. >> reporter: but after the initial burst of excitement, over the one for the history books tease, there was a bit of a walkback today at the lab in pasadena. >> we are getting closer to understand what it takes, how to explore the organic compounds. >> reporter: but not yet proof of life? >> definitely not proof of life. >> reporter: still, they are interested in the very possibility, one explored by science in films ranging from "war of the worlds," to modern fiction like mars attacks, and by entrepreneurs who see the human colonies on mars within 20 years. >> we're on the way to establishing a self-sustaining group.
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>> reporter: now, a scoop of sand picked up 180 million miles away could bring some answers at a conference next week >> if they find life exists on mars, that would be extraordinary. >> reporter: evidence, perhaps, but the odds of proof in the first pinch of martian sand? there is a much better chance of winning the powerball lottery. mike taibbi, pasadena. >> that is our broadcast for a wednesday night. thank you for joining us, if you're watching us here on earth, don't forget you can see the rockefeller christmas tree lighting right here tonight on this nbc station. i'm brian williams, we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night.
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we have live team coverage. >> reporter: a 15-year-old is charged as an adult after a violent crime spree. that's coming up. and sentencing day for a campaign treasurer accused of ripping off prominent politicians. nbc bay area news starts now. round one delivered a nice punch. round two should be much more powerful. this might be the biggest series of storms we have had in 2 1/2 years. a common site throughout the region, downed trees. this was in martinez on brown street. the adjoining junior high school had to be placed on lockdown because they lost power. we have

NBC Nightly News
NBC November 28, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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TOPIC FREQUENCY Nbc 5, Us 5, Washington 5, Hawaii 4, U.n. 3, Mars 3, Pasadena 3, John Kerry 2, Tom Costello 2, Miguel Almaguer 2, Clinton 2, Mike Taibbi 2, Georgia 2, America 2, Susan Rice 2, New York 2, Chuck Todd 2, Pennsylvania 2, Gilda 1, Rosanna Danna 1
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